Thursday, 27 August 2009

1950's Glamour vs 2009 Neurosis

One of my latest fascinations is the 1950's, I'm not sure why - maybe because I am attracted to the portrayal of women seemingly more in control of their lives than I am now - women that took pride in motherhood alone and their self worth didn't seem compromised by lack of career. Maybe? Whilst going to college, university and striving to be at the top of my field, I still always placed my dream to be a mother and provide my future children with a beautiful home paramount, it was just something way more important to me than promotions and my own office (although it was good when I had them). Now, three children on I do enjoy 'paid work' -when I get it - but I have also allowed myself to feel successful in having raised children and run a home with equal self congratulation and smugness. Don't get me wrong - I owe a debt to the 1950 generation of strong women who strove for equality in the workplace, post war women whose strength I have huge admiration for. We should have that right to chose, to be given the same opportunities as a man. I know this. But choice may have melted my brain and exhausted my body - because now I feel women's credibility may be marked by her place in the workforce and her likability (for want of a better word) reflected by her domestic/maternal status. Choice may have equaled a division and a conflict, in ourselves and between each other. However I feel, actually, women are on the verge of a renaissance - times are a changing (that's maybe another post?)
Wow - what a blumin awful babble!!!! Don't usually do that!!! SORRY!!! I think what I'm trying to say (terribly) is - I often wish I was born in a time when women's' ambition didn't fuel insecurities or play host to a mountain of guilt. (OMGOODNESS what a thing to admit!!!!) And these magazines just seem to illustrate a time when women 'knew their place and were bloody happy with it!' The images seem to portray women who didn't live in frustration by their lack of professional achievement (like me) didn't feel embarrassed to smile like a Cheshire Cat at a new washing machine (like me) get excited over a new vacuum (like me) or even (wait for it) occasionally slap on a bit of lip gloss and a pointy bra before the hubby came home (OK well not me). BUT..... hey - we all know these women's magazines don't always tell the complete truth don't we? And I'm certain behind those killer breasts and red hot lips these were women as neurotic and mentally unstable as me :))))
Who cares? Let's just enjoy the pictures!!!!!! I was thinking about making a few posters out of these images!!!! TTFN xxxx
OH - thank you everybody for your wonderful support of my little Etsy shop!!! I have had my first order!!!! Your well wishes mean so much to me.


  1. Oh dear. I already know this is a load of twaddle - sorry!!!

  2. I think we know what you're trying to say! LOL!

    I'm obsessed with the 1950s right now after watching the Darling Buds of May!

    Victoria x

  3. LOL - I think I actually disagree with myself already on this post! Wow I really am slightly scitso!

  4. I loved this post Fleur and those pictures are wonderful!
    I love anything to do with the 1950s and would of loved to of been alive then although i'm not sure what kind of housewife I would of been lol.
    Beki xxx

  5. Well I for one agree totally.

    I'm a former White House/Capitol Hill news correspondent and I knew, almost from day one of TEN years of working before my daughter was born, that I could never do both REALLY properly. Not that way I wanted to at least. Both were singly overtime jobs.

    I was 100% sure of my decision to stay at home with her when I left work, and now? 200% sure. And I was very lucky to be in the position to do so.

    But in doing so, there was, and continues to be, people outside of my own little family who second guess MY decision.

    I like to say my life will be linear -- WORK then CHILDREN and then BACK TO WORK.

    And in the middle, when I can concentrate on home and kids? I fully intend to live it up -- I'm going to smile at my white laundry (that *I* made white), I'm going to bake pretty cakes to delight my daughter and spend afternoons playing Playmobil or coloring or cuddling with her. Love it.

    Life WOULD be easier if everyone blanketly accepted homelife for all as they did in the 50's. But, like all things really, it's up to the individual to determine what's best for them, to be true to themselves and stuff the rest really. :)

    Love the pride in the eyes of the women on the photos...!

  6. Oh Fleur. Have you ever heard of Betty Friedan's work 'The Problem With No Name.' She interviewed women in the US of the post-war generation who were all college educated and then upon marriage had to give up dreams of anything other than motherhood and domesticity. Many were on tranquillisers and deeply unhappy. It was the lack of choice. I've always felt grateful to pioneering women who fought for our right to have choice. Perhaps we have too many choices now. I've often found that other women can be our worst enemies. The query over breast or bottle to do you puree defines us as a slovenly mother or a highly efficient one depending which side you're on. Then there's the camp who work and think at home you're clearly dull and lunching with friends or at the gym. If you do work perhaps you're not being as good a mother as you could be. That aswell as never seeming to match up to the high standards we set ourselves. What a minefield.

    I focused on feminist writing in my degree and was quite angry about inequality and injustice in my 20's. The moment I was pregnant aged 31 I knew there was no way I was handing over my then unborn child to a minder so I could go back to lecturing full-time. I was at the stage where I should have been looking for Head of Dept posts. I've never regretted handing in my notice as I know 100% it means I've raised two fantastic girls and I've learnt a lot about myself too. In my 40's now (only just in the door at nearly 41 mind you) and I'm very happy and content with the pace life has. No longer do I care if I meet the bar of others expectations - but I do get excited when I pack a beautiful looking picnic and we have a magical day together or the house is shiny for at least one minute a month.

    Who cares really as long as it makes you tick, I think we can be whatever we want to be.

    Lisa x

  7. Re your comment re my comment - sounds like a business memo. Why not? Good post. Thought provoking. Oh Fleur not knee capping, but oh deary me you sound confused at moment.

    Does that explain it. I'll email you you daft thing. Easier.

    Lisa x

  8. I love those 50s images! I was told that my mother ironed my cloth diapers! Ha! To me, I live in the best of both worlds. I love staying home but I'm not a work-aholic and i don't feel pressured to be perfect! ♥

  9. I watched Revolutionary Road as recommended! Bleak.


  10. i hve just got attacked on facebook for making cakes and sitting on my arse all day while decent people have to go to work!!! these people knew nothing of my situation (bad hands) and assumed i was on drove me bloody potty!!! why does society undervalue stay at home mums!!! i am beginning to feel like an underclass citizen....